Meet Delano. #teddybear #newbuddy
Oh topic, you are so near and dear to my heart. Places I want to go? Where DON’T I want to go? C’mon! In order to keep this post under control, I decided to focus solely on actual, real-life places I can go, rather than make-believe places I would give an eyeball to visit.
I list this one as #10 because it’s in my state and therefore way more plausible than all the rest. I’m still plugging my way through the Harry Potter series, but I know that I’m going to enjoy the snot out of Wizarding World when I go. Details based off the movie set? Visiting shops? Buying your own wand? A dragon that moves and breathes fire?! I am so there!
This one is really general, I know, but that’s only because it’s a catch-all sort of place. I would love to be able to stop by famous literary gravesites. Give a wave to Tolkien and Lewis, maybe, or visit the final resting places of some of the historical accurate characters from some of my favorite historical fiction. (Anne of Brittany and Queen Elizabeth I come to mind, though I’ve said hello to the latter before.)
I wish Molching and Himmel Street were real. I wish I could visit Liesel Meminger’s home and see the river where she nearly lost her book and the track where Rudy pretended to be Jesse Owens. Unfortunately, they’re not real places, so I’m willing to settle with wandering through Munich. I’m sure there are some worthwhile WWII museums to visit and the city itself is old enough to have some fantastic architecture. And if I just happen to have the soundtrack playing on my iPhone while I do my wandering… well, that’s my own special joy.
Glastonbury is rumored to be the final resting place of King Arthur and Queen Guinevere. It doesn’t really matter if the rumors are true or not, because you better believe they’re going to play it full-tilt to the tourists anyways. Also, it’s a beautiful, historically rich area that would be lovely to visit.
My interest in the concentration camps of WWII goes far beyond fiction, but I think it would be a very sobering experience to visit places like Ravensbruck and Dachau. Real people trump fictional people, but fictional people can make a horrific, unthinkable situation more… manageable. Ravensbruck has Rose, Roza, Karolina, Elodie, Irina, and Anna. Dachau has Max Vandenburg. They are the names that stand in for the thousands upon thousands cut down by the Nazi genocidal machine.
I ALMOST made it to this one back when I studied abroad in college. I was only two hours down the coast in Antibes but couldn’t swing the trip. I’d stop by Marseilles first and stroll about, since I’ve heard it’s a pretty place, and then make the sea journey to the Chateau d’If just off the coast. It’s probably a lot like the Tower of London in that it’s nowhere near as scary/gloomy as you’d think it would be or would like it to be, but it would still be cool to see where Edmund Dantes spent his imprisonment. Also, it’s fun to say.
PEI is another place that would be worth visiting even without the literary connection. From what I’ve seen, it’s gorgeous. However, the real draw for me is Anne of Green Gables. I want to visit Cavendish where the Green Gables house stands and where a path connects it to the foundation that was Ms. Montgomery’s childhood home. So I’d start there, and from then on, it’d be rambling exploration. The sea, the fields, the groves, the forests—it’s all tinged with Anne for me.
High on my bucket list is visiting the shore of the Adriatic Sea to fly a kite just like Rose and Roza do at the end of Rose Under Fire. I don’t think I’d wear a red bathing suit, but I would paint my toes red, put on a big, comfy sweater, stick a Hershey bar in my purse, and take a long walk along the sands before letting a kite fly in the breeze. And cry. I’d probably cry just a bit.
Bonus: Visiting the Paris Ritz where Rose stayed after her escape from Ravensbruck.
I’m getting a little fluttery just thinking about it. First, Greece is ancient and has some amazing history, and part of that history is intrinsically linked with its mythology about Zeus and his posse, which for ME is intrinsically linked with Percy Jackson. It would be so neat to visit different museums and ruins and see the names of the different deities from Percy’s family.
But even BETTER (for me) is the fact that so much of the world Megan Whalen Turner created for The Queen’s Thief series is based off of Mediterranean culture. She’s been to Greece and has posted pictures on her Tumblr page imagining different spots and artifacts as being from Sounis, Eddis, and/or Attolia, and it KILLS ME. Those museums in Delos and Santorini that she visited? I could go there! That spot in Delphi that overlooks the Sea of Olives(!!)? I could so go there and pretend to be Gen looking over the edge with the Magus and Pol! Any abandoned temple that I came across could be the very one where Eddis, Gen, and the Magus picnicked in the second book! Eddis’s secret temple?!?! I COULD GO THERE!! Oh flutters.
[All photos below from MWT’s Tumblr.]
This is not a bucket list item. This is a fated inevitability. I WILL go to New Zealand someday, and by gum, I WILL visit the Shire (Matamata)! I will crawl through Hobbit holes, and I WILL hike through Emyn Muil and Mordor (the Taupo region, esp. Mt. Ruapehu), and I WILL visit Wellington and the WETA Workshop, and I WILL take the Dimholt Road to the Paths of the Dead (Putangirua Pinnacles), AND BY ALL THAT IS PRECIOUS TO ME, I WILL STAND UPON THE PEAK OF EDORAS (Mt. Sunday) AND LET MY HAIR WHIP IN THE BREEZE LIKE EOWYN. Amon Hen, Lothlorien, Isengard, Fangorn, the gates of Khazad-Dum and Mt. Caradhras will all yield before me, FOR I HAVE SPOKEN.
"It’s always been you and me, James."
- All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill
Honestly, if you haven’t read this book, you’re missing out. THE PAIN!
Lies, secrets, and magic — three things that define Kayla’s life.
Sixteen-year-old Kayla plans to spend her summer hanging out on the beach in Santa Barbara and stealing whatever she wants, whenever she wants it. Born with the ability to move things with her mind — things like credit cards, diamond rings, and buttons on cash registers — she has become a master shoplifter. She steals to build up a safety net, enough money for her and her mom to be able to flee if her dad finds them again. Well, that, and the thrill of using her secret talents.
But her summer plans change when she’s caught stealing by a boy named Daniel — a boy who needs her help and is willing to blackmail her to get it. Daniel has a talent of his own. He can teleport, appearing anywhere in the world in an instant, but he lies as easily as he travels. Together, they embark on a quest to find and steal an ancient incantation, written on three indestructible stones and hidden millennia ago, all to rescue Daniel’s kidnapped mother. But Kayla has no idea that this rescue mission will lead back to her own family — and to betrayals that she may not be able to forgive… or survive.
The idea for my new YA novel CHASING POWER came from one of those questions that you ask your friends late at night after you’ve finished dissecting everyone’s personal lives, speculating on the future of various relationships, and musing over the awesomeness of avocados. Namely: “If you could have any superpower, what would you choose?”
My standard answer for years has been telekinesis.
(This is, of course, assuming that I can’t choose the power to end world hunger, cure all diseases, or other world-improving ability.)
So that’s where I began this novel: a girl with telekinesis. But I didn’t want her too powerful, because then she could just rely on magic to solve her problems. I wanted my girl to be clever. So I made it that Kayla can only lift very, very light things with her mind.
One idea is not a novel, though. Novels need a whole lot more.
I’m convinced that novels aren’t born from a lightning strike Idea-with-a-capital-I, but are instead grown from lots of little sparks that stick together to create a blaze. Here are a couple of the sparks that went into creating CHASING POWER:
1. Telekinesis — I’ve loved this power ever since I first read THE GIRL WITH THE SILVER EYES by Willo Davis Roberts and watching the movie Escape to Witch Mountain.
2. My mom — She has a Ph.D. in Mayan archaeology, and this inspired me to turn toward Guatemala for several key plot points.
3. My mom, again — She and I are close, and I know that inspired Kayla’s close relationship with her mother, even though character-wise Kayla and Moonbeam are nothing like my mom and me.
4. The year I spent living in Santa Barbara — Kayla lives in Santa Barbara, and all the State Street scenes are sprinkled with images from my memory.
5. Whatever National Geographic issue had pictures of old catacombs in Europe filled with displays of skills — There’s this one scene where… well, you’ll see
6. Another National Geographic issue that had an article on the People of the Clouds in Peru — See, hoarding magazines can be useful!
I could probably pick another half dozen things that filtered into my mind and came out into the novel, and there are probably at least a half dozen more that I’m not even aware of.
Whenever anyone asks, “Where do your ideas come from?” or “What’s your inspiration?” I always feel so cheesy answering, “Everywhere and everything.” But I think that is actually the truest answer.
Sarah Beth Durst is the author of nine fantasy novels for children, teens, and adults, including Conjured, Vessel, and Ice. Her most recent YA novel, Chasing Power, came out in October 2014 from Bloomsbury, and her next middle-grade novel, The Girl Who Could Not Dream, is scheduled for release in fall 2015 from HMH/Clarion Books. Sarah was awarded the 2013 Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children’s Literature and has been a finalist for SFWA’s Andre Norton Award three times.
Sarah was born in Northboro, Massachusetts, a small town that later became the setting for her debut novel. At the age of ten, she decided she wanted to be a writer. (Before that, she wanted to be Wonder Woman, except with real flying ability instead of an invisible jet. She also would have accepted a career as a unicorn princess.) And she began writing fantasy stories. She attended Princeton University, where she spent four years studying English, writing about dragons, and wondering what the campus gargoyles would say if they could talk. Sarah lives in Stony Brook, New York, with her husband and two children.
In case you’ve been under a rock this past week, here’s a rundown of something that has people on twitter buzzing:
On Friday, YA author Kathleen Hale published an article via The Guardian, entitled Am I Being Catfished (spoiler alert: no). Here is the article via a channel that won’t provide hits…
And this doesn’t even cover the bit where Kathleen Hale jokes about how many animals she killed as a child.